Aconcagua towers 9,000 feet above our current lunching spot at a scrawny elevation of 13,000 feet. The sheer magnitude of the mountain is hard for us to grasp. Our best attempt at comprehending exactly what 22,841 feet is is to break the south face currently staring at us into 1,000 foot sections. Even then we still can't quite wrap our heads around the number (this could also be a side-effect of our current lack of oxygen). We sit in awe, in the middle of this stunning valley, surrounded by vibrantly colored rock patterns streaking the shark-tooth-ridged 16,000 foot plus peaks on all sides, next to a multi-kilometer long meringue-peaked glacier, while this 22,000 foot "melting Oreo ice cream cake" monster of a mountain silences us with its power. Behind us, the scree flows down the majestic mountains like a dripping watercolor painting, beckoning us to return to camp. So goes our lunch break on just another Saturday in South America.
Not only was our three day trek around the south face of Aconcagua about breathtaking views (literally), but it was also about enjoying the company of our new travel partners, Trinity's sisters, Electra and Sonnet, and the guardaparque who generously offered us maté when we were chilled at the brisk hour of dusk and had an asado for our Saturday night entertainment (in actuality, it was most likely for their entertainment). If the Tres Chicas Locas are a hilarious handful, the five of us bring a quite impressive amount of in-your-face women-power.
After staring one of the "seven summits" in the face, what better way to recover and enjoy time with our temporary guests than three days spent in a cabaña outside of Mendoza? We ultra-lounged, spending the days laying out by the pool and watching Pretty Woman, Flash Dance, and a plethora of good ol´ American TV shows (i.e. Modern Family!). Not forgetting that we were in the heart of Argentina's wine country, we spent a day biking the must-do bodega tour. This may have been the most dangerous thing we have done thus far, but at least we had head protection!!
Still packing the five-female punch, we headed up to Cordoba where we then hiked from Villa General Belgrano, a heavily German influenced Disney-esque town, to La Cumbrecita, a pedestrian only village that felt more like a Renaissance fair than a town in Argentina. We trekked roadside through rolling, lush hills while battling the sticky air and beating sun. Humidity is a new climate change for us, so we found our reprieve through drinking ice cold beers, eating refreshing streusel flavored ice cream, and sleeping under the bright full moon. Apparently summer is not quite over (although horsefly season is!!). The familiarity of rolly-pollies, fireflies, and cicadas propelled us into a longing for those peaceful summer nights of childhood and home.
We have now said our goodbyes to Electra (Sonnet is staying for another 2 months) and are in to Chilecito where we met our Futaleufu-rafting-guide-turned (crazy-for-wanting-to-hike-with-four-women) -friend, Josh, who will be hiking with us for about two weeks. Heading out of Chilecito it is looking to be an incredible four weeks of intense hiking to the Bolivian border. We can't wait!
As high as 22,000 feet:
Posted by Tres Chicas
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